Although NBA players have experimented with their hairstyles and general looks for years, various franchises and coaches maintain strict rules about how their employees should look. The league's dress code is but one aspect of this set of guidelines. The idea is not only that the organization wants to present itself to the public in a certain way, but that the practice has ties to broader disciplinary issues. If a player follows the rules of how he should look, he's more likely to act appropriately in other ways, too. There's plenty of room to argue against these practices — I think they're needlessly conservative and ineffectively superficial — but they exist.
It's currently August, though, and certain players are liable to play around with their image when not on company time. Take, for instance, New York Knicks enigma and reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, who recently dyed his hair blond for reasons that may not even exist. However, it apparently won't last long, because, according to Smith's father Earl, Woodson has already told J.R. to get rid of it. From Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com on Twitter (via SLAM):
For those interested in JR Smith's hairstyle, his dad says he is going back to his traditional look, per instructions from Mike Woodson.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 8, 2013
Said instructions stem from Woodson's grander desire to keep the infamously volatile Smith in line, which makes particular sense now that the Knicks have committed large sums of money to him for four — er, sorry, three — years. The good news is that no one seems particularly concerned with this action right now. Smith is probably just looking for something to keep him occupied as he rehabilitates his knee, and Woodson's not issuing any real punishment.
The question is what happens if another player dyes his hair during the season and whether Woodson issues any kind of stern warning then. New Knickerbocker Metta World Peace has been known to experiment with out-there hair colors and styles in the past, and it's possible he'll force Woodson's hand. Will he have to treat everyone the same, or will he let others fly simply because they haven't proven to be as difficult to coach as Smith?
It's also worth noting, of course, that Mike Woodson once looked like this in January 2010:
Does a dude who once had no eyebrows have any room to tell a guy what his hair should look like? Practice what you preach!
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